thankfulness and ABC’s

In honor of my all-time favorite holiday, I’m challenging myself to create a list of everything I love…from A to Z! Here goes…

A–Avocados. And apricots. And Amazon–because Amazon is the only place where you can buy avocados and apricots, then tab over to watch a movie or grab a free book for your Kindle before checking out with a shopping cart that includes violin strings, three different books, and a bottle of perfume. Okay…that was kind of random but seriously–not that many words start with the letter A!

B–Bread. And everything else with gluten in it. I could literally live off of bread–or, more specifically, English muffins. Especially the kind with cranberries in them. Any kind of bread will do in a pinch, though–I’m quite partial to giant salted pretzels, too.

C–Chalk. Chalk art, specifically. Give me a chalkboard–big, small, or in between–and I’ll fill it with a favorite verse or quote. Something about the way the chalk connects with the board, and the fact that I can erase so easily, makes chalkboard artistry extremely therapeutic.

D–Desserts! I’m always in the mood for something sweet, but I’ve got an especially big sweet tooth this time of year. I’m crazy about pecan pie, cranberry-white-chocolate cheesecake, hot cocoa (white chocolate style for me), and Christmas candies/cookies. Mom makes the best fudge, shortbread, penuche, peanut butter balls, gingersnaps, and salted caramel snickerdoodles EVER.

E–Exploration. I’m extremely thankful that God has blessed me with the ability to travel and explore. I’ve been able to knock off most of the cities on my travel bucket list and I’m about to hit a few more in a few months (you’ll hear more about that later). There’s nothing better than going somewhere brand-new, seeing something in a unique way. Few things can top sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset or riding through Victoria, BC in a horse-drawn carriage.

F–Food. I’m so blessed to have a warm meal on my table three times a day (thanks, Mom!) and even more blessed that it’s such GOOD food. Who can resist a pot full of bubbling spaghetti sauce, an ooey-gooey loaf of cheesy bread, or a bowl of creamy chicken and bacon chowder? Not me!

G–God’s grace. I don’t know where I would be without the love of my amazing Savior and I’m glad I’ll never have to find out.

H– Hawaii! Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? 😉 I’m so thankful that God decided to create a place as beautiful as Hawaii. The crashing waves, swaying palms, brilliant sunsets…pure magic!

I–Inspiration. I’m inspired by some of the strangest things–elevator music, grainy photos, scribbled-on pieces of paper–but it doesn’t matter what inspires me as long as I’m inspired. And I am–all the time. I can’t seem to stop thinking about the next book to write, location to photograph, or picture to draw.

J–Jazz. She’s a character in my debut novel Porch Swing Girl, and the main character in my current WIP. I’m so thankful for her–and Olive, Macie, Brander, and all of the other fictional people that are now some of my best “friends”. I don’t know where I’d be without all of them.

K–Kittens. I’m so glad God decided to bless us with cats and kittens. They’re so soft, so warm…and they smell divine! Really, if you’ve never done it before, I highly encourage you to stop reading RIGHT NOW and bury your nose in the first cat you can find. It’s a truly wonderful experience.

L–Light. Light inspires me like few things can. Whether it’s the light of the stars, twinkling up in the sky or the brilliant glow of a city spread out before me, the sight always lights a fire in my own heart.

M–My family, my friends, and everyone else in my life. God has filled my life with some pretty amazing people and I’m so thankful to know each and every one of them.

N–Novels. And empty notebooks. And every OTHER kind of book in the world. For me, reading is like breathing and I’m not sure which one I would rather go without. I’m currently obsessed with Joanne Bischof’s book, The Lady and the Lionheart AND Tamera Alexander’s novel, A Note Yet Unsung. Coincidentally these books both tied for a Christy award a few weeks ago. And, in case you’re wondering if I ever read any YA books, I can say that YES. I do–one of my favorites is The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. I liked Everything, Everything, too, but my mom had to go through it first and flag some of the pages for me to avoid 😉

O–Oregon. I’m so in love with my beautiful home state. I’ve never been to England but, for some reason, I feel like it would be a lot like where I live–shrouded by majestic hills, blanketed by the morning mist, home to twittering birds and frolicking deer, and filled with sunshine to cut through the rain. The Oregon coast is no less magical, what with its towering ocean cliffs and charming, old-timey towns.

P–Puffy quilts. And blankets. And heating pads. Heated mattress pads, to be specific. Mom surprised me by putting one on my bed a few weeks ago. Since I have a condition that prevents me from having good circulation, I’m always cold–especially in the fall and winter–and it’s amazing to be able to slip into a warm bed on a chilly fall evening.

Q–Quiet. As an introvert, I’m so thankful for the peace and quiet of a night spent by the fire with a good book and a cup of warm tea. I love having a free evening to spend at home and recharge my batteries. Even though I tend to have a bit of a motormouth on occasion (read: all the time) that motor can wear out after a while.

R–Respect. I am thankful for everyone on this earth who respects others. People who hold open the door, take their hat off in Church, say please, show respect to elders, send thank-you notes, and greet others by name get a HUGE vote of approval in my book.

S–Sunrises and sunsets. And any other time the sky looks pretty. I love white, wispy clouds and bright blue skies, but I’m equally fond of dark, moody days with giant, billowing clouds. Still, nothing can beat waking up early to watch the sun rise over the hills and vanquish the darkness.

T–Teacups, tea mugs, coffee mugs, and anything else you can put tea or hot cocoa in. I love to sip something warm, especially when I’m writing, and, even if I didn’t, I’d probably still drool over all of the cute coffee cups out there.

*Hmmm…cats and coffee cups…sounds like I’m turning into a little old lady*

U–Uniqueness. I’ve got an extremely “unique” brain, a very “different” way of seeing the world. I’m totally not a typical teenager (or a typical human being in general) but I’m so thankful that God made me the way He did. If I didn’t have my slightly-crazy-very-kooky brain, my life wouldn’t be near as much fun. So I’m happy to be me, quirks and all.

V–Violins. And pianos, cellos, and every other musical instrument out there. I love music and listen to it nonstop. A day without music is unheard of in my house. Music flows through my veins and helps keep my heart beating. I mostly listen to Christian contemporary music (especially the stuff from For King and Country and We Are Messengers) but Mom’s been teaching me all the cool 70’s stuff from when she was my age. I’m totally hooked on Fleetwood Mac and some of the stuff by Journey and Boston.

W–Writers–and editors, publishers, and everyone else in the publishing biz. I’ve been so blessed to meet some amazing people since I set out to become a published author. I wish I could name each and every one of you, but, If I did, I would still be writing come next week. Still, I can’t resist giving a shoutout to the amazing people who are helping me prepare my book for publication with Mountain Brook Ink. Miralee Ferrell, Nikki Wright, Jenny Mertes…you three are amazing! Bonnie Leon, thank you for being the best mentor out there, and everyone in my ACFW critique group–you’re the greatest!

X–Xtra. Okay, so that’s not a real word but, really, what did you expect me to say? Xylophones? XRays? So…I decided to go ahead and invent a word! I like xtra stuff–extra time to snuggle in bed in the morning, an extra spoonful of brown sugar on oatmeal, an extra day added to the weekend, extra time spent praying or reading the Bible, extra time to write…extra is always a good thing!

Y–Yore. I love the nostalgia that word brings up, especially this time of year. In just a few short days, I’ll be decking the halls and singing along with one of my favorite Christmas carols as I help my mom trim up the house for the season:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on our troubles will be miles away

Here we’re as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Z–Z! I’m thankful for “Z”, a character in one of the first “novels” I tried to write when I was 12. I think I got about two chapters in before giving up, but I did write a bunch of short stories about this strange lady. Also known as Zelda P. Thornbottom, “Z” was married to Harrison Hagy Horbes, a hamburger-guzzling fool. Together, they raised Zelda’s prize-winning showcat and Zelda’s niece, who had about fifteen “middle” names. (Oh, yeah, the niece was originally raised by a nun, too…)


And…there you have it. Twenty-six wacky, random things I’m thankful for. And it’s my longest post ever. So, if you’re still reading, kudos to you! Now go–get off the computer and have a happy Thanksgiving. God bless!

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